"The Hunger Games" proves box office success

By Carolyn Williams

Staff Writer

Director Gary Ross’ film adaptation of “The Hunger Games” has been arguably the most anticipated book-to-movie release since the end of the Harry Potter era. Either way, Suzanne Collins’ best-selling series is well on its way to becoming one of those rare instances in which the movie bests the book.

Our heroine Katniss Everdeen, (Jennifer Lawrence “Winter’s Bone,” “Like Crazy”) is a scrappy huntress from the outlying District 12, a poor coal-mining community. The story begins on the day of the Reaping, in which each of the 12 districts is forced to draw the names of two children, a boy and a girl between the ages of 12 and 18, and offer them up as tributes (basically sacrifices) to compete in the annual Hunger Games. The games represent a reminder of the Districts’ failed revolt against the Capitol, for which the children of the Districts pay each year. It’s a battle to the death, and the last man standing is crowned champion, at a bloody price.

So, naturally, Katniss, in a show of bravery, volunteers herself as tribute to go in place of the chosen girl tribute, her younger sister. Alongside her is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson “The Kids Are All Right,” “Bridge to Terabithia”), the other tribute from District 12, and the two set off for the famed Capitol. Their handlers include the insufferably superficial Effie Trinket (a nearly unrecognizable Elizabeth Banks), their guide of sorts from the Capitol, and the drunken Haymitch (Woody Harrelson) the only tribute from District 12 to have won the games in the past. With his help, Katniss and Peeta are meant to practice their fighting and survival skills, as well as making nice with the cameras in an attempt to encourage support of their unpopular district. Dazzled and disgusted by the finery of the Capitol compared to the abject poverty they were raised in, Katniss and Peeta are transformed by styling crews and coached for interviews with Caesar Flickerman (Stanley Tucci), complete with electric blue hair. All anyone is wondering, though, is what will happen when they step into the arena of the games, and who of the 24 entering will be walking out.

“The Hunger Games” has everything necessary to make a good movie: action, suspense, romance, an underdog hero, elements of a corrupt dystopia, a strong cast and a huge budget to make the otherworldly set look as good as possible. The movie actually draws tears at times, and gasps of fear and surprise at others, and overall it has the potential to genuinely entertain a wide audience of viewers.

“It went back to what movies should be about; it isn’t the level of special effects that is important but instead the story itself,” Kendall Woods ’14 said.

Lauren DelloStritto ’14 had a similarly positive experience, calling the film “exhilarating and exciting.” 

So whether or not you have read the books, “The Hunger Games” is definitely this spring’s must-see film.

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